Kurt Helin

Thunder GM, owner praise Kevin Durant on his way out door


Thunder fans are in shock. They feel betrayed. They are understandably hurt.

Kevin Durant has chosen to play basketball for the Golden State Warriors. Up to the end, Thunder fans — and most of the league — thought he would return to them. He did not. The words a lot of them are using to describe their feelings and Durant are not ones I can repeat on this family-friendly site.

The team’s owner and GM took a much higher road in statements released by the team.

“Kevin made an indelible mark on the thunder organization and the state of Oklahoma as a founding father of this franchise,” Thunder president of basketball operations Sam Presti said in a statement. “We can’t adequately articulate what he meant to the foundation of this franchise and our success. While clearly disappointing that he has choosing to move on, the core values that he helped establish only lead us to thanking him for the many tangible and intangible ways that he helped our program.”

“Kevin’s contributions to our organization during his nine years were profound on and off the court,” majority owner Clay Bennett said in his statement. “He helped the Thunder grow and succeed in immeasurable ways and impacted the community just them same. We thank him for his leadership, his play, and how he represented Oklahoma City and the entire state of Oklahoma.”

Oklahoma City handled this a whole lot better than Dan Gilbert did in Cleveland.

Those men and the rest of the Thunder basketball brain trust face some very difficult decisions about the future direction of this franchise in the coming weeks and months.

PBT Podcast: NBA Free Agency roundup (pre Durant decision)

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Al Horford chose Boston and made that franchise a bigger threat in the East.

Mike Conley stayed in Memphis — and brought Chandler Parsons with him.

Bradley Beal, Nicolas Batum, Hassan Whiteside, and DeMar DeRozan all get maxed out.

There has been no waiting around in free agency for Kevin Durant to make his decision. In this latest PBT Podcast Kurt Helin and Sean Highkin of NBC’s ProBasketballTalk break it all down. This podcast was recorded before Kevin Durant made his call (and before Jamal Crawford made his, so that part of the podcast is dated).

As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.

Trey Burke with a classy farewell to Utah fans on Instagram

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Trey Burke being traded to the Wizards was good for both sides. Utah already traded for George Hill and has Dante Exum coming back, those are their point guards. Burke was the odd man out. In Washington he will get run behind John Wall and a green light to score. The Jazz get a second round pick. Everybody wins.

But before he left, Burke posted a classy farewell to Jazz fans on Instagram.

Well done Burke.

Fans in The District are going to like him.

Report: Tomas Satoransky reaches deal to come over from Europe, play for Wizards

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A couple of months after he was drafted 32nd in the 2012 draft, Tomas Satoransky was honest: He was not ready to play in the NBA.

He believes he is now. And so do the Washington Wizards, who have reached a deal to bring him stateside, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Satoransky is a tall combo guard who spent the last couple seasons playing for FC Barcelona in Spain. He’s got game. Here is how PBT’s own Brett Pollakoff described his play after seeing him first hand at the Adidas Eurocamp before he was drafted:

“Satoransky ran the point and played off the ball equally well, and whipped the ball around the perimeter with confidence, always looking to create the best shot for his teammates. When it was his turn to score, he showcased a smooth stroke from the outside, and was able to put the ball on the floor and finish in traffic, as well.”

It will be interesting to see how that translates to the NBA, and how Scott Brooks chooses to use him. Can Satoransky and Trey Burke serve as the backup ball handlers with the second unit behind John Wall?

It looks like we will find out next season.

James Ennis signs two-year, $6 million deal with Grizzlies

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James Ennis played just 40 minutes across 10 games in a stint with Memphis last season, but apparently GM Chris Wallace likes what he saw.

Or maybe he saw the nine games at the end of the disastrous Pelicans season where they gave the athletic wing out of Long Beach State (Go Beach!) a chance, starting him five games, and he averaged 15.9 points a game, shot 48 percent from three, and had a PER of 17.8. Small sample size, but it should have been enough to get him a chance somewhere next season.

It was back in Memphis, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Evans is long all kinds of athletic — remember this dunk?

However, athleticism and a high motor would only take Ennis so far, he needed to round out his game and become a more consistent defender and, more importantly, develop a steady outside shot. He showed that in a small sample size in New Orleans at the end of last season, he’s now got to do it regularly.

The Grizzlies have Chandler Parsons at the three (and Tony Allen at the two), Ennis could become a backup there getting steady run if he continues his growth. Memphis saw enough to take a couple year gamble on him to become that guy.